Sunday, October 22, 2006

For the Mason Fan

They say that journalists should be objective. I am. But when the opportunity came to write about the George Mason University basketball team, I had to share my opinion through a column. I covered GMU's basketball team before it was made famous through it's run to the 2006 Final Four. My column was written for the fans that put in their time, the ones who knew who the Patriots were before every media outlet in the country jumped on the feel-good bandwagon. This column remains one of my favorites and, believe it or not, I still get emails from GMU fans from all over the country.


For the Mason Fan
BJ Koubaroulis
March 23, 2006

While the men's basketball team at George Mason University has effectively transformed itself, the campus and the surrounding areas of Northern Virginia into the most beautiful of 'Cinderellas,' there are those fans that knew her before she made it to the ball. Before she was popular and still loved her when she was scrubbing floors. And while the campus bookstore has been cleaned of anything green or gold and the bandwagon is bursting now at the seems, there are those fans who, for at least this week, feel like Andy Dufrane in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" — that the crawl through hundreds of yards of, well you know, was worth it.

This is for the Andy Dufrane-like Mason fans. Who have crawled through the D.C. Metro area's media bias towards Maryland, Georgetown and even George Washington.

This is for those of us whose knowledge runs thicker than George Evans' mustache. For those of us who know who Jason Miskiri is. For those who remember Raoul Heinen, Trent Wurtz, Rob Anderson, Mark Davis and Bill Courtney — to name a few.

For the Mason fan wondering why I chose to mention those names and not others.

For those of us who knew who Christian Caputo was without having to read the press release when he was named an assistant coach this season.

For those of us who are still using our outdated and expired Mason identification cards to get into games and for the girl at the box office who is still accepting them. God bless her.

This is for all the fans who knew that Tony Skinn was the best kept secret in the D.C. Metro area.

This is for those fans who know where to get a Jay Marsh Burger. Spicy honey-mustard barbecue sauce, banana peppers, and jack cheese for only $8.25. Ah, the sweet taste of Jay.

For those of us who started college after Lamar Butler arrived at George Mason and finished before his eligibility ran out.

For the fans that have a Jim Larranaga bobble-head.

For those of us who know that Makan Konate scored the first two points of his 3-year career in the 81-58 blowout win over William and Mary on Jan. 26, 2006.

For those of us who knew Jai Lewis had been recruited by National Football League scouts before CBS dropped that knowledge this week. For those of us who knew he played lacrosse in high school.

This is for those of us who still wonder what Gunston, our mascot, actually is.

For those of us that listen to the Korean broadcast in the minutes leading up to the 1310 AM radio so as to not miss an minute of Bill Rohland.

For those fans who know where the loose bleacher is in the student section of the Patriot Center and for those fans who know exactly how to stomp on it during opponents' free throws.

This is for those fans who drove to Dayton this week and made the rest of us proud when we could hear "G.M.U. what?" in the background noise of the CBS telecast.

For the Mason fans that remember the heartbreaking loss to VCU two years ago that pushed Mason into the NIT. And for those of us who stayed up until 11:30 p.m. to watch the loss to Oregon.

For the RPI nerd that calculates backwards in seasons somehow trying to elevate Mason because the they beat this season's No. 2 seeded Tennessee two seasons ago in the NIT. It makes perfect sense to us.

For the Mason fan that cheered when Jordan Norwood made that game-breaking catch for Penn. State in the Orange Bowl this year just because he's Gabe's brother.

For the Mason fan that truly hates Old Dominion University.

This is for the Mason fan that scoffs at the word "mid-major."

For the faithful who know we are lucky to have Larranaga.

This is for the Mason fans that believe, that have always believed and will continue to believe when the bandwagon unloads, when the papers stop giving the ink, and when the ride — however long it can continue — comes to a close.

BJ Koubaroulis is a 2003 graduate of George Mason University and served as the Sports Editor of the university's Student Newspaper Broadside.

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